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SSF-Svalbard Science Forum

SOURCES AND LEVELS OF MERCURY IN TERRESTRIAL AND FRESH WATER RESOURCES RELATED TO FEEDING AREAS FOR REINDEER AT SVALBARD

Awarded: NOK 30,999

Reindeer feeds on vegetation and drinks from water sources that could be contaminated with Hg. Although previous studies have determined low levels of mercury exposure on the Svalbard reindeer, the mercury released from thawing permafrost could change the current situation. This project aims to study mercury levels in vegetation and water resources available for reindeer at selected location at Svalbard and at the same time link this to the sources of potential mercury release from permafrost. To assess Hg levels in permafrost, gold traps will be set at the beginning of the thaw season and collected before the soil layer is frozen again, as well as soil samples to compare both measurements. For atmospheric deposition, moss samples will be collected as an indicator of Hg atmospheric levels. Additionally Hg levels in vegetaion and water resources available within a relvant area will be studied.

Funding scheme:

SSF-Svalbard Science Forum